Food and health

The Best Foods For Eye Health

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Healthy eating is one of the key things advocated by experts if we are to keep certain diseases at bay. This includes eye-related diseases.

Whole foods are believed to contain a number of nutrients needed by the body for good nourishment. These include plant compounds that serve as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, among other things.

Antioxidants have been touted as a panacea for various ailments, as they are believed to provide a defense against cell oxidative stress caused by excessive free radicals.

Although it’s recommended to eat a balanced healthy diet for overall health, there are key nutrients important for eye health, according to research.

Vitamin C is thought to have antioxidant effects along with vitamin E, beta carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, and zinc, while omega 3 fatty acids are thought to be pro-anti-inflammatory which is useful in curbing the “inflammation caused by exposure to sunlight and high metabolism”

Antioxidants such as anthocyanin, carotenoids, and flavonoids along wng with the said minerals and viramins are reported to work synergistically to help maintain good eye health and reduce the risk of macular degeneration

You are what you eat, that’s what experts often say right!! Anyway, without further ado lets dig deep into what science says about foods that are best for eye health.

How Does Eating Carrot Benefit Eyesight?

Carrot is rich in antioxidants, beta carotene (carotenoid) which gives fruits and vegetables their pigment. Other than carrot, tomato, sweet potato, kale, peach, among others are also rich in vitamin A. “Beta carotene is a dietary source of pro-vitamin A”.

According to research, one study demonstrated that beta carotene along with other vitamins and other minerals such as vitamin C, E, zinc, and copper demonstrated the ability to reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration, AMD.

“Evidence has shown that eating fresh fruits and dark leafy vegetables-foods rich in vitamin C and E, selenium and carotenoid may delay the onset or reduce the severity of AMD”

Lutein and zeaxanthin are classified as carotenoids. Research cites that they have the “ability to protect the eyes from oxidative stress by absorbing the incoming light and keep cataract and macular degeneration” at bay.

These antioxidants are found in eggs, broccoli, kale, spinach, etc

Is Eating Orange Good For Eye Health?

Orange is commonly known as a good source of vitamin C. This vitamin has been found to be best for eye health due to its antioxidant properties and other functions.

Other than citrus fruits, green peppers and spinach are also rich in vitamin C, to name just a few.

Vitamin C is believed to be an effective antioxidant protecting the cells and tissues from oxidative stress.

Other than metabolism, exposure to sunlight and other toxins such as smoking can lead to the production of free radicals which may result in oxidative stress, research reports.

Research further reveals that the eye has a high metabolic rate and thus needs extended antioxidant protection.

“The RDA for vitamin C 75 mg/day for women (19 years and older) and 90 mg/day for men (19years and older), according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Does Eating Spinach Benefit Eye Health?

Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin is thought to play the role of the antioxidant in cell protection.

According to research, “fats are an integral part of the cell membrane and are prone to damage by free radicals”. Vitamin E as an antioxidant counteracts the impact of fats oxidation by free radicals.

“This is important given that the retina is highly concentrated in fatty acid. Vitamin E is said to have the tendency to lose its antioxidant ability when neutralizing the free radicals”.

Well, all is not doom and gloom as research reports that vitamin C can regenerate the antioxidant ability of vitamin E.

” RDA for vitamin E is 15 mg/day for both women and men (19 years and older)”

Other sources of vitamin E include seeds, nuts, whole grain, broccoli, spinach, etc.

Should We Eat Fish For A Better Eyesight?

“Oxidation and inflammation are the mischief-makers” as they are thought to be involved in the development of age-related eye disorders such as macular degenerative disease and cataract.

Research cites that omega 3 fatty acids found in fish can mitigate the risk of developing age relayed eye disease as it does for heart health

Food sources of omega 3 fatty acids include tuna, mackerel, trout, sardines, etc.

Oysters Are Among Food Sources Of Zinc And Are Said To Boost Eye Health

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “vitamin C is a mineral with antioxidant effects and helps keep the retina healthy and may protect the eyes from damaging effects of light.”

While zinc plays a role in keeping our eyes healthy and boosting immunity, it is reiterated that a good ratio between zinc and copper is important and eating a healthy balanced diet is crucial as we get the supply of nutrients in diversity according to experts.

However, this could be a bit of an issue, especially for vegetarians and vegans as phytic acid present in most plant-based foods binds with iron and zinc and can interfere with the absorption of these nutrients in the body and lead to a deficiency of these minerals as a result.

Other food sources of zinc: beef, eggs, whole grains, legumes, etc.

Does Smoking Damage Eyesight?

Research reveals that smoking can compromise eye health, as it has also been “associated with other diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease”

It is thought that smoking can speed up the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, AMD, and can lead to vision loss”

Over and above that smoking is also linked to cataracts and diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, dry eyes syndrome”

Research further states that those who are smoking are not only putting their own health at risk but also those around them as well.

“Previous studies have pointed to long term smoking as doubling the risk of age-related macular degeneration and as a factor causing lens yellowing inflammation,” says Science News

Final Thoughts

Inflammation and oxidation are thought to be the major issue when it comes to an age-related eye disorder. They are linked to many other diseases as well, according to research.

Thankfully, all is not lost as science can help us mitigate their impacts or as it is often said, prevention is better than cure.

As it stands, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities of plant nutrients can help us keep inflammation and oxidative stress at bay at least that’s what experts say.

As mentioned above, nutrients such as vitamin C, E, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega 3 fatty acids, have been found to have the potential to boost eye health due to the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties they possess.

These nutrients are found in most food sources as stated above.

At the end of the day, healthy eating among other factors will take us a long way.

I hope this article was useful to you, if that’s the case do leave your comment, and/or opinion in the comment section below.

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  1. I really enjoyed this article, and as a vegetarian eat plenty of carrots and sweet potatoes. It’s good to know carotene offers protection for eyes. I also eat fish, especially salmon and mackerel, and know the health benefits of omega 3. I’ve never smoked, and always found being around smokers made my eyes smart. It’s no surprise therefore that it can double someone’s chances of eye disease. Thank you for such an informative post:)

    1. Hi Kathy
      You comment is always appreciated. Its good to know that you found the article informative.

      Look forward to your next visit in the future for more articles.


  2. Hey Maggie – Thank you for your thorough article for eye health. I eat many of the foods that you mention but there are others I think I would be wise to include in my diet.

    All the foods you recommend are good for other aspects of health as well, so anyone would be smart to eat those. I aim to eat foods and supplements that are nutrient-dense and anti-oxidant rich. Cleaning out those free radicals and reducing inflammation are part of being healthy as we age. Thank you for teaching me about some foods I did not know about.

    1. Hi Glenn
      You are welcome. Yes, the nutrient dense food is the way to go, especially fruits and vegetables, as experts recommend.

      I’m glad you stopped by. Thank you for your comment.

  3. I have had excellent eyesight my whole life. Then I entered my late 40’s. Now I need reading glasses. I should have eaten a lot more green leafy vegetables over the years for sure. Oysters I wouldn’t have considered though. I just can’t appreciate those.
    I never really considered orange being important for eye health, other than the fact it’s a fruit and fruit are healthy. But for eye health specifically I never really thought about that.
    Very informative and well written article.

    1. Hi Teresa

      Thanks for visiting this site. Your comment is appreciated. Im glad you found the article useful.

      Keep visiting for more articles in the future.

      Have a lovely day

  4. Hey Maggie, you are so right that healthy food gets us a long way. I eat almost everything of the examples you give, except meat and oysters. Especially oysters, yikes, I tried it again a couple of months ago, as I think we should keep being open to everything, but no, don’t like them.
    I eat a lot of carrots and other orange food. In fact I try to eat all the available colours each day, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and white fruits and vegetables. A month ago I went to the optician, because I couldn’t read my screen very well anymore and I was worried. It turned out my eyes improved! In 3 years time the value went from -6 to -4, can you believe it. So the worrying was in vain. 🙂

    1. Hi Hannie

      That’s great news. Most people these days are having trouble with their eyes, not just adults but children too. We live in the digital age now, people are always on the screens, either tvs, laptops, mobile phones. Other than eating healthy foods in diversity, we also need to rest our eyes and protect them from blue light, at least that’s what research says.

      Thank you so much for stopping by.

  5. Hi Maggie.

    You’ve opened my eyes (no pun intended – well just a little!) to a bunch of things here. My eyesight has deteriorated over the years but has held about the same sine I hit my 40’ies.

    We were all told as kids that carrots were great for our eye sight but I wasn’t away of the vitamins involved. Similarly, I also didn’t know the positive impact that many of the other fruit and vege had on eyesight so thats a nice side benefit for me I guess.

    Are there any other more obvious food groups that we should stay away from in terms of eye deterioration? I appreciate the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant impact but would be curious to learn more about other foods that are no goes eye wise.


    1. Hi Jason

      Thanks for the question Jason, I guess this calls for another article that will address this question properly supported by research. But at the top of my head, this boils down to a question of healthy eating and diversifying your diet to get a wide range of nutrients for overall health.

      Junk foods and too much processed foods as well as unhealthy fats are not good friends when it comes to our general health, hence experts constantly remind us of the benefits of eating whole foods as they are nutritious as opposed to processed foods.

      I hope this answers your question Jason. Thanks for stopping by, keep visiting for more articles in the future.

  6. Hi Maggie,
    This is the time when our eyes need more care and nutrition because everyone stares at smart devices all day long, your article comes the right time. I personally take Vitamin C & lutein supplements every day to meet the minimum requirement, and I feel fewer eye strains after the intake. But, the best way is still to take some rest once in a while to keep your eyes healthy, right?

    Thanks for sharing,

    1. Hi Matt
      You’ve nailed it, blue light is one of our worst enemies when it comes to the eyes. I for one am guilty as charged as I spend the whole day on my devices but I try and reduce the light and make it less bright but still one need to take some time off and rest the eyes, wear glasses when looking at the screen or sunglasses when out in the sunlight.What inspired me to write this article was because recently I have been having some trouble with my eyes. They were feeling dry and way too sensitive to the light and this prompted me to conduct research about eye health so I can empower myself with the knowledge to better take care of my eyes.

  7. Hi Maggie,
    As a health nut, I enjoyed reading your article because I use most of the vitamins you mentioned in your article. I make sure that I keep my eyes healthy so as not to wear prescription glasses, if I don’t have to. I also eat most of the vegetables you mentioned so I guess I am doing a good job keeping my eyes healthy! Thank you for such a nice read!


    1. Hi Evelyn

      It’s great to learn that you are well ahead of things. I wish I had learnt about these things earlier. I would probably be not using eye glasses now, apart from other factors that might have contributed to me needing eye glasses.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Maggie I read this article and I like it because is talking about the most sensitive part of the body which is an eye…… it should be imperative for every individual to take care of his/her own eyes….. the food nutrients like carrots, spinach etc should be emphasised unfortunately I don’t like oyster but since it’s said is good for an eye I’ll try it once more….. I like your energy in researching field…

    1. Hi Jerry

      Thank you, Jerry, I remember when I was young we were literary forced to eat fruits and veggies and I think if we were taught from a young age the benefits of eating fruits and veggies, we would have developed the culture of eating healthy like a Mediterranean diet
      You don’t have to eat oysters to get your zinc if you don’t like it. I chose oysters because it’s rich in zinc followed by beef. You can also get zinc in turkey, chicken, whole grains and the like.

      Thank you for stopping by. Keep visiting this site for more content in the future.

  9. Great article! Thanks for sharing! You only have one pair of eyes and our sight is of course of utmost importance for our daily functioning. In regards to oysters though, no thanks lol! I will get my zinc from a different source. I do get that there are people out there that adores the taste, but that is certainly not me lol.

    Once again, thanks for sharing! Interesting info!

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